About This File
Open Cities Skyrim is a comprehensive project that aims to bring back at least part of the feel of Morrowind - specifically how most of the cities were a natural part of the world and you could just walk in without loading screens. The added immersion and realism goes a long way, probably a lot more than you might think. Ever wanted to ride your horse into the center of Riften? Well now you can. Need to get some help from the city guards to vanquish a foe? Run toward the gates and the guards will do their duty while you can seek safety within the walls. The town guards make for some very interesting interactions this way. This will also make running dragon battles that much more interesting since the flow of the battle won't be interrupted by the loading screen and all of the city guards can be involved at the same time.
Official Skyrim patch 22.214.171.124.8 or greater.
Requires Official Dawnguard DLC.
Requires Official Hearthfire DLC.
Requires Official Dragonborn DLC.
SKSE 1.6.9+ and SkyUI 3.2+ are required in order to use the in-game configuration menu. They are NOT required in general for the mod itself.
SKSE 1.7+ is strongly recommended if you are having trouble with ILS/CTD issues. See the troubleshooting section.
Installation - Wrye Bash BAIN
Drop the archive into your Skyrim Mods\Bash Installers folder, then install as usual.
Make sure the mod is active in the Wrye Bash mods tab.
Installation - Nexus Mod Manager
Use the "Download with Manager" button on the Open Cities Skyrim page at Skyrim Nexus. The installer should take care of things from there.
Then simply make sure NMM has the mod activated.
Installation - Manual
Drop the Open Cities Skyrim.esp and Open Cities Skyrim.bsa files into your Data folder.
Activate the mod using whatever management tool suits you.
Post Install Configuration
Set the mod's load order using whatever management tool you feel most comfortable with.
LOOT should set the proper load order, and is the recommended method for doing so.
It may also be necessary to rebuild your Bashed Patch if you're using one.
Once the game loads, you need to allow 24+ game hours to pass for AI to fully update in each city.
You can configure three options using the in-game menu if you have SKSE and SkyUI 3.2+ installed.
Option 1: Oblivion Gates. The menu will now allow you to toggle them on or off as desired, on the fly, with no external patches necessary. If you have any such patches, uninstall them. They'll crash the game now.
Option 2: Gate Attendants. The gate attendants who open the city gates when you approach on horseback can be toggled on or off as desired. Yes, some people despised them enough to ask for this. Don't ask me why.
Option 3: Outdoor Lighting System. You can toggle the state of the outdoor lighting system as desired. Nobody asked for this, but I figured what the heck. I was messing with MCM anyway so why not.
These optional configuration elements will not be supported through any other mechanism, so if you're one of those people who irrationally hate SKSE and SkyUI, you'll have to live with using external patches for the gates, and you won't get to turn the other two things off at all.
Uninstalling Open Cities Skyrim
Due to the nature of Skyrim mods, especially those adding scripts, it is strongly discouraged to attempt uninstalling a mod from your active game. Any mod that is more than pure mesh or texture replacements has the possibility to leave behind permanent changes to your save that you may not want. This is not something modders can correct for. It is how the game was designed by Bethesda. No support will be provided for anyone who uninstalls this mod from an active game and continues on with that save.
Open Cities Skyrim should be loaded as late as possible in order to preserve changes to navmeshes and other exterior city data.
LOOT should be used for optimal placement.
Official Dawnguard DLC - Available in the patch archive at the Open Cities Skyrim download sites (except Steam).
Official Hearthfire DLC - Available in the patch archive at the Open Cities Skyrim download sites (except Steam).
Skyrim Sewers 4 - Available in the patch archive at the Open Cities Skyrim download sites (except Steam).
CL Cities - Whiterun - Available in the patch archive at the Open Cities Skyrim download sites (except Steam).
Drinking Fountains of Skyrim - Available in the patch archive at the Open Cities Skyrim download sites (except Steam).
Atlas Map Markers (scroll down the files tab a bit).
Dawn of Skyrim Collection
Immersive Citizens - AI Overhaul - Included in Shurah's installer.
Mods which strictly replace vanilla textures or the vanilla meshes are 100% compatible.
Expanded Towns and Cities has been confirmed to be 100% compatible since it does not affect the 5 walled cities.
Generally speaking, any mod which adds things to the closed cities will be incompatible.
City mods that add some details to the open worldspace will be partially compatible.
Alternate Start: Live Another Life - Fully compatible. No patches needed so long as AS:LAL is loaded after Open Cities.
The Last Defeat of the Dragon Cult - The mod hasn't been updated since March 2012. It's navmeshes are partially corrupted and must be repaired.
More Dynamic Shadows & Striping Fix - Numerous dirty edits that cause some interiors to cease functioning.
Mods which edit the following scripts will not be compatible unless patched:
The Civil War battles which take place in Whiterun, Solitude, and Windhelm will be fought within the closed city worldspaces. This had to be done due to complications that were not possible to overcome with the scripting involved in the war and how it relates to several other quests. Expect load door transitions when a city battle is underway.
If you have a problem with an Open Cities mod and wish to report it, I'd appreciate as much information as possible, preferably in the form of a screenshot with console data showing if it's something that can be screened. The FormID of the affected object would help greatly to narrow down any problems that might result. Post this information along with your load order. Reports with less than detailed information may result in delays in getting it fixed, or result in being ignored entirely. It helps everyone to provide details. I am especially interested in verifiable conflicts, as I wish for Open Cities Skyrim to be as conflict-free as is humanly possible given the circumstances. If the situation requires a patch, I can only work something out if I know what to look for.
Help! I'm experiencing Infinite Load Screens (ILS) and/or Crashes to Desktop (CTD)!!!
In March of 2013, Bethesda released their final patch for Skyrim. Version 126.96.36.199.8. Prior to this, Open Cities Skyrim had little trouble operating in the available memory the game provided.
It has since been found though that Patch 1.9 changed something about the way Skyrim allocates its initial pools of memory, likely due to trying to get the DLC to work on the PS3 and then not bothering to make sure the PC had, you know, PC specific code for that.
The end result is that when traveling, either on foot or by fast travel, it becomes possible for you to run into problems with ILS/CTD issues. This is especially true in Windhelm and almost guaranteed to happen when trying to get back from Solstheim. It's also likely to happen when fast traveling from one city to another, and CTD may result when trying to enter some interiors after you arrive.
Fortunately the community has devised a solution to this problem in the form of a pre-load memory patch. There are several options for these now, but the one I most strongly recommend is shipping as part of SKSE now beginning with SKSE 1.7. In order to configure SKSE 1.7 to resolve this problem, you simply need to make sure your skse.ini file in Data\SKSE contains at least the following lines:
This should resolve the problem on all but the heaviest of load orders. If you still have issues, then you can try either raising the 768 value to 1024, or install ENBoost which will help further reconfigure how RAM is used by the game. There are limits to this, so be careful. Skyrim can only have a maximum of 4GB even on a 64 bit system with boatloads of RAM. Allocate too much to either of the two SKSE settings and you'll be right back where you started with the ILS/CTD problem.
My own load order has 96 active mods, and the SKSE settings alone turned it from totally unstable to fairly rock solid reliable.
The doors inside Warmaidens (in Whiterun) are missing, what have you done with them!
The More Dynamic Shadows & Striping Fix mod makes a bunch of dirty edits in Warmaidens that will cause the doors to disappear. This mod has several other problem locations as well and it isn't recommended to be used in general until the author fixes the problem.
I am getting unexplained CTDs when using Open Cities with other mods. What gives?
Open Cities Skyrim requires the latest version of Skyrim, Patch 188.8.131.52.8 as of the writing of this document.
Many mods have not been updated since their creation. The most likely causes of issues will be from mods that have navmeshes but have not had them properly redone using CK 1.6.89 or greater. These mods need to be updated by their authors or they will simply not be compatible with the updated navmesh formats and will cause CTDs in any configuration that includes updated mods.
When a mod is reported and confirmed to suffer from this problem, it will be listed in the Incompatible Mods section until such time as it is updated by its author.
Locations of AI Doors
The AI doors are entry ways into the closed wordspaces should it become necessary. Not everything that is placed in a city by a mod is worth the time it takes to create a patch. Mods that drop items for a one-time pickup are a good example of this. It's much easier to just go through the door, get what you need, then exit the city as normal.
Riften: East of the main city gate, next to the alley gate.
Markarth: Enter the city gate, turn immediately to your right. The small rock in the grass patch next to the ivy.
Whiterun #1: East side of the bridge into the city, right next to the brazier that is closest to the guard shack.
Whiterun #2: North side of Jorvaskr, on the side of the path up to the Skyforge.
Solitude #1: In the rock pile between the city gate and the executioner's platform.
Solitude #2: In the rock pile across from the Bard's College, immediately to the south of the manhole cover.
Windhelm: As you enter the city gate, turn immediately to the right, then immediately right again. It's in the bushes right next to the wall.
Performance and FPS
Open Cities Skyrim should not produce a significant change in your frame rates and performance. Due to the liberal use of occlusion planes in the mod, the game will not render anything on the opposite side of the city walls in any given location. So your viewing content will be limited to roughly what you'd see if you were in the closed city worldspaces. The closed city worldspace system was NOT devised by Bethesda to improve frame rates. It was devised to conserve system memory on the XBox 360 and PS3. You're playing on a PC. Or, at least legally speaking you ought to be anyway.
Anyone who insists that this mod is a framerate destroyer is already experiencing other problems with their game. Do keep in mind, Skyrim is not one of those silly shooters that requires 60fps at all times in order to be playable. Dropping from 60 to 55 would go absolutely unnoticed. Even playing with 30-40 frames would go unnoticed to those folks who keep those dumb little indicators running while they play.
If you're seeing a massive frame rate drop, point the finger somewhere else. This mod is absolutely not the cause of your problems. I know this may seem harsh, but this sort of disinformation was rampant with the Oblivion mod and wasn't true then either and I absolutely will not stand for this sort of disinformation being spread now either.
Throttlekitty - Help with the Riften city gate collision sizing.
BassEX - Corrections made to the Markarth dam mesh.
Hannaise - Oblivion Gates in Skyrim
jonwd7 - Fixing the collision on 6 Whiterun wall pieces without normal collision height.
pihwht@Nexus - For having the patience and dedication to dig deep into the civil war and ferret out problems causing it to fail in Solitude.
Dwip - For numerous improved meshes at the various city gates. No more crappy fake collisions!
nonoodles - Riften southeast gate mesh plus the animated dock gates.
Nico coiN - Cut back version of the Whiterun drawbridge mesh as well as numerous other cleanups and fixes for the mod.
This mod is not made, guaranteed, or supported by Zenimax, Bethesda Game Studios, or any of their affiliates.
What's New in Version 2.0.5
Cleaned up navmesh ITMs detected by newer versions of xEdit.
Added new Wrye Bash tag for landscape hiding edits.